On December 22, 2023, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. (“Meridian”) filed a notice of data breach with the Attorney General of Massachusetts after it discovered unauthorized activity within its computer system. While the breach was just announced last month, according to the report, the incident was initially discovered on August 11, 2023, when Meridian detected unauthorized activity within its computer system. The healthcare company claims after it discovered the breach, it secured its network, reset all passwords, and began working with a third-party forensic firm to assist with its investigation.
Then, on December 4, 2023, its investigation confirmed that an unauthorized actor had gained access to its network and accessed files containing confidential patient information. Once it confirmed that sensitive patient data was made accessible to an unauthorized party, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare reviewed the compromised files to determine what information was leaked and which patients were impacted. Finally, on December 22, 2023, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare sent out data breach letters explaining how the breach occurred, what information was accessed, and who was affected by the data security incident.
Who Was Affected by the Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Data Breach?
As mentioned in the notice sent to affected individuals, the data breach incident resulted in an unauthorized party being able to access patients’ sensitive information. While the breached information varies depending on the individual, the following information was accessed:
- Social Security numbers,
- Dates of birth,
- Medical diagnosis,
- Treatment information,
- Health insurance information,
- Prescription information
Currently, Meridian is offering its affected customers free identity theft protection services through Identity Defense. Those who have received a letter from the healthcare company or believe they have had their personal information accessed due to the breach can contact its toll-free call center at 1-855-457-7131 to answer questions about the incident and to address related concerns. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am and 9:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Affected patients are also welcome to contact Meridian via mail at 1565 SW Williston Road, Gainesville, FL 32608. You can find a copy of the letter sent out to affected individuals here.
Who Is Meridian Behavioral Healthcare?
Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. was established in 1971 and is a behavioral health provider headquartered in Trenton, Florida. Meridian offers crisis services, rehabilitation services, and outpatient services, as well as conducts outreach to vulnerable populations. Operating in approximately 30 locations throughout North Central Florida, Meridian conducts more than 600,000 direct care visits annually and employs more than 600 individuals, generating roughly $124 million in annual revenue. To learn more information on Meridian, click here.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself After a Data Breach
Your Social Security number (SSN) is one of the most critical factors when it comes to your identification. The government uses the nine-digit identifier assigned to you by the federal Social Security Administration to
track your earnings and can allow you access to many benefits under certain government programs. Your SSN also allows you to open credit accounts and other financial accounts you may use in your day-to-day life. In the event that your Social Security number is stolen in a data breach, those who have access to your information may conduct the following actions:
- Open new credit accounts
- Drain your existing financial accounts
- Receive medical services under your medical insurance
- Steal your identity
This is why it is vital that once you are notified that your SSN may have been compromised during a data breach, you should contact and inform the following organizations.
- The Social Security Administration
- The Internal Revenue Service
- The Federal Trade Commission
- The Department of Justice
Affected individuals also have the option to monitor their credit using online credit reporting tools provided by credit unions like Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, who offer one free credit check a year. For more frequent credit monitoring, Intuit Credit Karma grants users daily access and alerts to their credit free of cost. Do not stop there. After your social security number has been stolen due to a data breach, you will want to contact a data breach attorney.
Speaking with an attorney can help you better understand your legal options and if you are eligible to recover damages. As a patient, you should never have to wonder if the company you entrusted your personal data to is prepared to keep it safe. If you suspect that your information was exposed in the 2023 Meridian Behavioral Healthcare data breach, Morgan & Morgan is here to provide assistance and support. You can learn more information today by contacting a data breach attorney here.